Humility and Better Programming, Six Years Later
Here’s everything you need to know about my software development philosophy:
“The competent programmer is fully aware of the strictly limited size of his own skull; therefore he approaches the programming task in full humility, and among other things he avoids clever tricks like the plague.”– Edsger W. Dijkstra, The Humble Programmer, ACM Turing Lecture 1972
Six years ago, I wrote a series of articles about being a humble programmer, based on the ideas of some really smart people, like Dr. Dijkstra. The articles have gotten a lot of views and positive comments, and I think they’re still relevant reading today.
I wrote them back when I worked at National Instruments. I had a blog called labviewjournal.com. (I saved all that content. It’s now at https://stravaro.com/lvjournal, and the old hostname redirects there.) My colleague, Nancy, and I wrote several articles about our world of helping people develop better software.
We both find that helping developers be more successful is fun and rewarding. That’s why I created Stravaro.
Anyway, back to the old blog series–there’s almost nothing I would change if I were writing it today. It feels just as relevant as when I wrote it. Even though the articles were written with the LabVIEW developer in mind, I believe it’s a philosophy that should be followed regardless of programming language. When I worked at athenahealth, I gave a presentation on the same theme at an internal technical conference.
If you haven’t read the series, I invite you to do so now. Do any of you have a similar philosophy that’s worked well? Or a radically different one? Leave a reply below to share your thoughts.
“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”– H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”– Winston Churchill